Students sign a petition against the new schedule to potentially create change within the district

District 204 began a new remote learning schedule that will allow for an easier transition between remote learning and in-person learning last Monday. The new schedule starts at 7:25 a.m. and eliminates the built in hour lunch break that students had prior to Thanksgiving break. This schedule, however,  allows for an hour of academic support time from 1:15 p.m. to 2:25 p.m. 

While the current schedule will minimize the need for a switch when it is safe to have in person learning, many students are against it. They are fearful that this new schedule could be detrimental to their mental health. 

“I honestly feel like this new schedule will be my breaking point,” senior Rose Wagner said. “I’m already so drained and I need that hour lunch break to be productive or even just relax,”

Remote learning caused a lot of challenges for students, and students will have to adapt to it. While this new schedule has the same start time as a regular school day before the pandemic, remote learning can be more difficult for students than in-person learning. 

With all the changes that remote learning is bringing, many students would prefer to stay away from the typical school schedule.

“We are not in person. We are going through a global pandemic right now, and nobody is in the same mental space as they were a year ago,” Wagner said. 

As the hybrid learning plan keeps getting pushed back, more students are questioning why they need to participate in such a rigorous schedule. 

“There are no breaks, we have to wake up super early, and it lasts the entire morning,” senior Alex Hall said. “This schedule should be implemented once we get back to school, then it would be perfect. While we are fully remote, though, the previous block schedule would work best.” 

Students prefer the older schedule because it provides them flexibility. Waking up earlier and taking away a break can be stressful, and many students are fearful about losing sleep. Students feel that staying up to work on school work and waking up early will affect their performance in school negatively.

“I feel that over time, I will not be able to focus because the mornings feel so long,” Hall said. 

Not only is the lack of sleep causing stress, but students are also having trouble adjusting to a new schedule after a whole semester of following the same blocking periods. 

“I prefer the old schedule. I think that it was less to navigate, and I had gotten used to it,” senior Poorna Kumar said. “I think that with the old schedule, waking up was far easier.”

Not all students are opposed to this schedule change, however. Some think that this new schedule provides them a sense of structure similar to in-person learning, making it the perfect transition from online to hybrid. 

“Although there are aspects of the new schedule that I do not exactly like, I still think that this new schedule is good because it normalizes what regular school might feel like,” senior Mirudhula Velmurugan said. 

It is clear the student body has differing views of the new schedule. However, most feel that it is not the best plan for them because it may be detrimental to their overall academic performance. Yet very few students had actively campaigned against it. Wagner saw students’ negative reactions to this new plan and decided to do something about it. She started a petition for students in District 204 to actively oppose the new schedule. 

This petition was started on Nov. 18 and has over 500 signatures from high school students across the district. Wagner believes students should use this petition as a platform to elevate their voices. 

“I am encouraging so many people to share it because I would love to get it to all three high schools because so many people are demanding change,” Wagner said. 

The widespread support of this petition is uplifting to Wagner, but she believes that the district itself needs to do more; there is a lack of representation of the student’s voices within district offices. 

“From starting this petition, I know so many kids are against [the new schedule]. Why do we have to fight this hard for it?” Wagner said.  

Students can still sign this petition on Wagner believes that if enough people sign, the school board members will take notice and address the situation. 

“If everybody shares the petition, if everybody speaks up, we could definitely get the word out and get it changed,” Wagner said.